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Finance, Benefits & Debt
Check your understanding of these common terms, that are often not fully understood…

Interest rate – this is shown as a percentage and applies to borrowing and saving money. The interest rate is the amount of money it costs to borrow money (on top of the amount you are borrowing), and the amount of money earned from saving.
If you are borrowing money, you should try to find the lowest interest rate possible, this means there is less money to pay back overall. Try to stay away from short term loan sites, such as Wonga, Pay Day Loans etc – the interest rates can range from 1000 – 6000%.

If you do need to borrow money, contact your local credit union, they offer low interest rates and are ethical. You can find them by typing your home town and credit union into Google e.g Cardiff Credit Union - and contact details will come up.

Compound interest – this is the same as interest rate, but relates to interest accumulation over a period of time. For example if you are saving £100 at an interest rate of 3%, by the end of Year 1 your saving will be £103 (£100 x 3%), so in year 2, the interest rate is applied to the balance, so by the end of year 2 your saving will be £106 (Y1 x 3%). Remember, the opposite happens when you are borrowing money!
Here is an online calculator that can work it out for you:

Credit – credit is another word for debt, (not to be confused with ‘being in credit’). This is an agreement between two parties that payment for goods received can be settled at a later date, potentially interest may apply. For example, ‘Buy now, pay next month’, this an example of purchasing something ‘on credit’ also known as ‘on finance’.

Being ‘in credit’(Not to be confused with paying ‘on credit’) Is the term given to a bank account which has available money, and no debt associated with it.

Over draft – an over draft can be planned or unplanned, and is the term given to a credit (also called a debt or known as ‘on finance’) allowance on a bank account.

APR – Annual Percentage Rate (based on a year, not a month like the interest rate), this is the amount of interest that will be paid back to the lender in one year, shown as a percentage. It’s some times known as the APR representative, which means that not everyone will have the same APR. You should always check this, and ask if it’s fixed or variable over a period of time. For example, the APR for Wonga has a Representative 1509%APR (correct as of July 2015), but was previously 5853%. Loans from your local credit union APR will be around 12% - a HUGE difference!

Loan – an amount of money lent to a person, with the certainty that the money will be paid back to the lender. Loans are usually subject to specific terms (contract) and interest rate.

Grant – an amount of money gifted to a person who fits certain eligibility criteria. This money is not usually paid back.

Help with finance and debt:

Even though you may not want to, you must open your mail and speak to someone… don’t suffer in silence, creditors are usually fairer than you may think…ignoring it will make it worse. Be brave, ask for help and these are some of the agencies that can do so. This is the first step to taking control.

The Money Advice Service provides lots of money matters information and free resources if you need some help:

Citizens Advice Bureau provides free expert guidance on lots of areas, including finance and debt help:

Money Saving Expert is a free website and forum that offers money guidance on all kinds of areas:

Credit Unions offer loans with a lower interest rate and are ethical in their work. Find your local credit union, start with this link:


If you are worried about loan sharks, or illegal lending you can find more information here: 0300 123 3311

Step Change – Debt Charity that provides free debt advice. 0800 138 1111 free phone number (free from landlines and all mobiles)

National Debtline – providing free support for debt issues:

Money Advice Trust – providing help, information and guidance about debt to individuals.

Budgeting! This free online tool will help you work out your incoming and outgoing:

Business Debtline, proving support and information for people who are in financial trouble with their business


Universal credit – information about universal credit and how it will affect you when its rolled out:

Turn 2 Us – Free resource helping you check you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to:

Getting money savvy!

Say no to 0870 – Rather than paying for expensive premium rate numbers when you ring organisations, use this website to see if they offer a local rate alternative for the same company. Click on the search button at the top of the webpage.

Top Cash Back – is a cash back website, where you can earn ‘cash’ on your online purchases. This is usually around 1-5% of your total purchase, but this can add up over time, especially if you are purchasing fairly costly items. You can set up a free account with your email address:

Noddle – Want to check your credit rating? You can do so for free on Noddle. You will need to enter your bankcard details for them to verify your details and find your records. Take a read of their terms and conditions.:

Domestic Abuse Support

Concerned about your partners behaviour? Have you recently met someone new and want to be sure? Clare’s Law has been brought in to help protect people from domestic abuse. If you want to find out if your current or potential new partner (regardless of gender) has a history of domestic abuse, you are able to. This link to the Telegraph Newspaper explains how you go about this:
These organisations offer a range of support on domestic abuse:

If you would like to email Welsh Women’s Aid, you can do so here (remember that your email may show up in your sent box, and you may receive an automated response from them):

Want to hide your online searches? Here is some guidance on how to do so:

Sexual Abuse Support
If you have experienced sexual abuse, New Pathways are on your side. You can contact them online here:

If you have been affected within the past 10 days, you can access a SARC centre, where you can get immediate help. ‘A Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) is a special facility where recent victims of rape or sexual assault can receive immediate help and support. This includes access to a forensic medical examination, which is carried out by an experienced and qualified doctor, and the opportunity to speak to the Police about what has happened to them if the client wishes to do so. SARC clients also receive help and advice from one of our Crisis Workers who can offer to support them and stay with them throughout the process.’

To find your nearest SARC centre, use this link:

Sex Work

If you are worried about your own or someone else’s involvement with Sex work, you can reach out to the following organisations who can provide useful information; regardless of if you’re trying to exit or otherwise.

UKNSWP stands for the UK National Sex Work Projects – this is a network of organisations who help give a voice to sex workers – here is a list of the organisations:

Ugly Mugs – is a project that provides outstanding services to help keep sex workers safe from dangerous individuals. You can join up for free to receive alerts on known unsafe people in your area, to check if telephone numbers have been reported, access to anonymous reporting and support.

Anonymous Reporting – is part of the offering from Ugly Mugs, enabling you to report a crime or assault to the police, while retaining your anonymity.


If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s drug use, these organisations can help and support.

You will also find local services through Google…. EDAS, ADAS

DSS Move – Want to change your accommodation? This is a resource for house hunting, all the houses on this site accept DSS.

Freecycle – a website which connects people in their local area where you can view items that people are giving away for free. You can find all kinds of items on here, including furniture. You’ll need to find your local Freecycle, use this link as a starting point: - remember to keep yourself safe, especially if you are giving out your personal information.
Gumtree - a website which connects people in their local area where you can find items that people are giving away or selling or adverting jobs etc. All kinds of things are on here, and you can search by area and category:

Food banks – Can provide you with food parcels in an emergency or crisis. To find your local food bank, this website is a good starting point.
You can find your local food bank by typing in the name of your town and food bank in to Google.

BT basics – low cost telephone and broadband from BT; this is done on a case by case basis and you will be considered even if you have a poor credit rating: You can ask your housing support for guidance on this:

Children & Families
What are young people doing online?
We can provide you with a free, easy to read, jargon free guide for parents. Contact us for a copy.

Here is a free online Course which provides information about the impact that growing up in the digital age has on childhood.
Prison Advice Service provides practical and emotional support to prisoners’ children, families and the prisoners themselves.

Concerned about your partners behaviour? Have you recently met someone new? Clare’s Law has been brought in to help protect people from domestic abuse. If you want to find out if your current or potential new partner (regardless of gender) has a history of domestic abuse, you are able to. This link to the Telegraph Newspaper explains how you go about this:

Suzy Lamplugh Trustkeeping safe – is an organisation set up to help promote personal safety. The organisation is named after the Founder’s daughter who disappeared. You can find free personal safety tips here:

Children’s charities:

Supporting children, families and relationships.


Action for children

Health & Well Being

Meal planning these websites/ facebook groups provide guidance on cooking, budgeting, meal planning, cost saving etc.
Feed Your Family for around £20 – per week:
Social Community for Feed your family for £20 a week:
Facebook Groups – type these group names in to your facebook and join!

‘Feed Your Family for about £20 a week’ – providing links to special offers on food, meal planning, recipes, community etc.

‘Cheap healthy Meals’

General Health

NHS – for a guide to symptoms etc, take a look at NHS online. Remember to see your Doctor if you are concerned. This website is not for self-diagnosis.

Feeling Fit!
There are lots of videos available on line to help develop your fitness and relaxation; we’ve gathered some for you to take a look at. (Remember to check your data availability and charges):

Work Out




Deep breathing


Unlock is a charity that provides information, advice, training and advocacy, and help dealing with the ongoing effects of criminal convictions.

Information Hub for people with convictions, providing information on a wide range of issues that having a criminal record can effect.

Disclosure calculator

A tool from Unlock informing you how long you have to disclose your conviction and what will show up on your DBS check. You have to log in.

Get in touch for more information on disclosure and spent/unspent convictions.

Education Training & Employment
Education / Training

A bit nervous about being online? Check out these how to guides from Communities First

Udemy is a vast range of online courses, with worksheets delivered by experts around the world; some courses are free, some are paid. Udemy gets its name from being ‘ The Academy of You’. You’ll need to log in, remember to check your data availability and connection.
YouTube Tutorials – huge range of tutorials available on Youtube, including cooking, hair styles, make up, nails, exercise, arts & crafts etc. Anyone can upload to YouTube so take things with a pinch of salt. (Remember to check your data availability and connection.)

Future Learnfree courses online on a vast range of topics. You can pay for certificates of completion too. (Remember to check your data availability and connection.)

TED is a world wide organisation that brings together videos of interesting speakers from a range of topics and experiences. These speakers will move, teach and inspire you. (Remember to check your data availability and connection.)


Creating documents - Here are step by step guides for creating documents, so you can write your CV and cover letter:

Sample CV – to see samples of CVs to help you build yours, you can view them here:

Applying for jobs? The following websites have jobs advertised, there are plenty of others, but these are a start:

CV library -

My World of Work -

Direct Gov -

Having Fun Online
YouTube – A website that allows you to watch and upload videos. You can find a vast range of videos from TV shows/clips, comedy, music videos, dance lessons, make up tutorials, cooking demonstrations etc. (Remember to check your data availability and connection.)

BBC Good food – what is says on the tin! Website to share and read new recipes.
Spotify – Free music streaming service; using data/wifi to play music on your device. Sign up with your email address for an account. The free version will play adverts every half an hour. Absolutely vast range of music and playlists available. Check your data allowance and charges before signing up, requires good data connection:

Tune In Radio – an App (for your tablet or smart phone) to listen to a wide range of radio stations from around the world. Check your data allowance and charges before signing up, requires good data connect:

BBC I Player Radio – available as a website and App, a wide choice of radio stations, podcasts and dramas from the BBC. Plenty to entertain and teach you!

Buzzfeed – Light-hearted website which presents news and entertainment items in small chunks and has amusing stories and pictures from the internet.

BBC news – keep up to date with news all over the world and in your local area:

Downloadable Resources

We have a vast number of current and past projects working with ex-offenders and their representatives. Click on a leaflet below to download more info about our projects.

Get in touch with Gibran